Cafe Society

MasterChef casting producer Erika Landin offers her top tips for acing the Denver audition

On Saturday, November 2, a casting crew from MasterChef, the Fox reality show that gives amateur cooks the opportunity to compete for a huge cash prize, the scintillating MasterChef trophy, and maybe even rainbows and unicorns from chef Gordon Ramsay, who, along with restaurateur Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot, judge and mentor the hopefuls, will grace Denver, where they'll hold open auditions for season five of the award-winning show. "We try to audition a good cross-section of the country, and we were in Denver to audition for season two and had a great turnout, some really great food and great contestants, so we're back here again," says Landin.

The Denver auditions will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1450 Glenarm Place, and just to make sure you're ready for your cameo (and possible MasterChef title), I chatted with supervising casting producer Erika Landin, who offers the following ten audition tips, which apply to everyone -- those of you willing to risk the humiliation of defeat or celebrate the jubilation of victory.

See also: Gordon Ramsay filming at Pantaleone's this week for a segment on Kitchen Nightmares

1. Bring "you on a plate" -- a signature or specialty dish that best represents your cooking style. We're looking for different cuisines and the best, most talented, most passionate home cooks in America.

2. Arrive with lots of energy and enthusiasm, and remember that you only have one chance to make a first impression. Dress to impress. Luca Manfe, who won season four, showed up for his audition in a suit. He was very well-dressed, and when I talked to him, I could really tell that winning this was his dream.

3. Make sure to pre-register and bring a completed application.

4. Be smart when you bring your dish to your audition, and remember that there's usually a line and things take a while, so if you're thinking about making a dish that has to be served piping hot, you might want to rethink it. That said, people are creative -- I've even seen campfire stoves in the parking lot -- but once you're in the building, there's no way to keep your dish warm. It's a very strategic game, and it all starts with your dish at the open call.

5. Make sure you are familiar with -- and have watched -- the show.

6. Be prepared to tell us something about yourself that makes you stand out from everyone else.

7. Be yourself. We understand that the stakes are high and that people are nervous, but we want people to do well, and we're here to help you, and the best thing you can do to help yourself is just be natural and put your best foot forward.

8. Know how to describe your dish. Our food judges definitely take temperature into consideration, realizing that if you make a dish that's supposed to be warm and it isn't, that it's a factor that you can't control. But they can get a very good grasp of a dish when the person making it can describe in detail what's in it and how it was prepared. Know your dish inside and out.

9. Be passionate and dedicated to making your dream happen. People who really display a passion for food typically do well, and remember that MasterChef is all about the journey. We look for potential, and ultimately, if you get through the auditions, it's all about what you learn over the course of your time here.

10. Don't try to be cute. There was one person who auditioned and brought Cheerios. This show isn't a joke, and if you're auditioning, you shouldn't be, either. We take this seriously, and so should anyone auditioning. And don't wear your pajamas.

To fill out the lengthy application and read the guidelines and rules -- no professional chefs are allowed to compete, by the way -- go to